AceShowbiz - Les Moonves may not only be losing his job, but he's also at risk of being fired by CBS without severance payment. The New York Times reports that the former CBS CEO was trying to silence an accuser with an acting job while The Times was conducting investigation into sexual assault allegations against Moonves in late 2017. And now a text exchange that could prove this new claim may determine if Moonves will receive his $120 million severance payment or not.
The accuser, Bobbie Phillips, says Moonves forced her to perform an oral sex on him during a 1995 meeting in his office. The 50-year-old actress, who was a rising star at the time, recalls the former TV exec told her, "Be my girlfriend and I,ll put you on any show," and then grabbed her by the neck, pushed her to her knees and forced his penis into her mouth.
It only ended when the intercom buzzed, because a casting director he had promised to introduce her to called him back. She says Moonves told the director, "I have this great actress." Phillips says after she saw a baseball bat near his desk, "All I could think was I wanted to use the baseball bat to knock his head off."
Later that day, Phillips' agent Marv Dauer asked her how the meeting had gone and she answered, "Not very well. I don't want to talk about it." Dauer also says that his client refused to meet or speak with Moonves again, recalling she told him that he violated her. "I didn't want to push her," Dauer says of his reaction at the time, "He must have done something awful."
In a statement to The Times, Moonves insists that "the sexual encounter with Ms. Phillips more than 20 years ago was consensual."
More than 20 years later when The Times reached out to Dauer about alleged sexual assault by Moonves, the agent called the then CBS chairman, beginning a months-long correspondence about casting Phillips in order to keep her quiet. Moonves allegedly insisted that Phillips accepted a role on upcoming show "Blood & Treasure" that would pay $1,500 for a day's shooting. "They're coming out with an article in The New Yorker. [Ms. Phillips] has got to take this job or I'm done," Moonves allegedly told Dauer.
While Mr. Dauer claims he was simply trying to alert Moonves about the media calls, a spokesman for Moonves says that Dauer pressured him to get jobs for Phillips and his other clients.
The Times reports that Moonves was slow to disclose his attempts to get Phillips a job during CBS' internal investigation this summer. According to the news outlet, CBS' lawyers recently discovered Moonves deleted many text messages with Dauer. He allegedly asked Dauer to delete their text messages, but Dauer still has them.
The contents of the text messages could determine whether Moonves would receive his exit package of $120 million or nothing at all. His contract with CBS states that the company would owe him nothing if he's fired with "cause," which includes his failure to cooperate during the company investigation last summer.
Ronan Farrow first reported in July on The New Yorker about Moonves' alleged sexual harassment at workplace. Moonves stepped down from his position as the CEO of CBS in September, hours after The New Yorker published a new report detailing sexual harassment allegations by six additional women.